My husband and I celebrate our wedding anniversary on May 22. Over the past decade and a half we have had good and great times, but also some bad and even worse times. I like to blame Walt Disney for making me think that all you need to do is find your Prince and then you’re all set for a Happily Ever After. But it’s a lot of work too.
There have been many times where it really has seemed to be that perfect dance in the clouds where everything is going our way. But in full transparency, there have also been times when it’s been rocky and we didn’t know if we would make it.
One of my all-time favorite bands says that “All you need is love,” but what if that love seems like it’s not enough? What else is there?
Well, maybe it’s not about looking for more. Maybe it’s about understanding what love really is. Really breaking love down and understanding what it means to fully love my husband the way God designed it has made all the difference in my marriage and how we relate to one another. But before getting into all the aspects of love that should be in a marriage, it’s important to understand its meanings.
The word LOVE has many meanings in the English language.
I tell my husband and son that I love them in the same breath I say it about pizza. I mean, I really, really like pizza, but it’s not even close to what I feel for my family. And I absolutely love my son, but it’s still a different kind of love than me and my husband.
It wasn’t as hard to distinguish the differences in Jesus’ time. Greeks mainly used 3 words for love: Agape, Phileo, and Eros.
Agape– This is the type of unconditional love that God models for us. It is a committed love that expects nothing and is offered no matter the circumstances. It’s the love-word used in arguably the most famous Bible verse, John 3:16:
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Phileo– There’s a reason the city of Philadelphia is called the city of brotherly love. Phileo love is described as the love between friends. It’s an affection and caring love that is welcoming to others and fosters companionship.
Eros– This is where we get the English word, erotic. As the name implies, it refers to an intimate, sexual love. It is passion for another.
So which one refers to the love that should be in a marriage?
It’s a trick question. The answer is all 3.
Each type of love—Agape, Phileo, and Eros—has a place in marriage. And without one of the ingredients, it won’t be the healthy marriage God wants you to have. Each piece of love is a gift, designed by God, for you to give your spouse. And if you are both portraying Agape-, Phileo-, and Eros-love then you will both be having your needs met.
Another way of looking at it is that Agape tells your spouse, “I love you,” Phileo says, “I like you,” while Eros conveys, “I enjoy you.”
Now that we understand the meanings behind love, we can look into other aspects of it and what it does in a marriage. These are valuable tools that revolutionized my marriage.
I hope you join me as I highlight each practical aspect of love in this series!
Part 2 of this series can be found here.